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July 2, 2019

Serena Williams

Wimbledon, London, England

S. WILLIAMS/G. Gatto-Monticone

6-2, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How do you assess that win today? First game since the French.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I'm glad I won. I think right now I have to have every match count, like 10 matches, because I haven't had a ton of matches this year.

I learned a lot from that match, just going to keep the momentum going.

Q. We all want to know, are you going to be playing mixed doubles with Andy Murray? Have you made a decision yet?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I'm just going to see how I feel today, then go from there.

Q. When do you think you could make that decision? Next three hours? In the morning?
SERENA WILLIAMS: This is crazy. I don't know. I'm still kind of in the singles mode, trying to figure that part out. We'll see. I could use extra matches, though, so... Could be something.

Q. Of course it's Independence Day this week in the U.S. When you're on the tennis court, how would you describe the independence you feel? What it's like to be self-reliant in that situation?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's one thing I love about tennis, is you're basically on your own out there. You just have to be independent and it's you and your opponent. You win or you lose, yeah.

I love that feeling.

Q. Could you give us a rough percentage of how likely you think it is you would play with Andy?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. If you guys really want it, then maybe I'll do it.

Q. We do really want it.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah? All right, done, just for you guys. Don't forget.

Q. That is a yes, you're going to do it?
SERENA WILLIAMS: If you guys want it.

Q. I really do.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Just for you then (laughter).

Q. Have you spoken to Andy then?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not recently, no.

Q. What happened in the second set? You were up, then a little bit in trouble. I saw you very excited when you were able to go to match point, like it was a major success. Were you really worried? What did she tell you at the end? She stayed a little bit with you. For her it was the first Wimbledon.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, like I said, I haven't played a ton of matches. I think this is the 13th match for the whole year for me. It felt really good to get there. It's also Wimbledon. It's Centre Court. It's like such a big moment for me.

Like I said, every match counts like several matches to just learn from each point. So I was really excited because she started playing really well. She started getting a ton of momentum. To try to keep, you know, the edge with myself was really important. She had already broken me when I served for the match so I wanted to make sure I was able to stay in the match.

I think that was just something that I was really excited about. It's Serena, I always get excited.

Q. At the end what did she say to you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I told her, Great match. She said, Thank you. Then we took pictures after.

Q. You had a couple serves in the second set over 125 miles an hour. You had a couple 119-miles-an-hour aces. Haven't seen that kind of serving from you in a while. How does that feel? Does it give you confidence going forward?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, it definitely gives me confidence. I can actually use my legs now. It's been a while.

Q. Is that what it's about, getting those legs back?
SERENA WILLIAMS: For sure. I think also mentally if you're serving without legs, you're paranoid of hurting your shoulder so you take a little pace off.

Like I said the other day, it's just all coming back hopefully fast. Each match has to be faster than normal because it's already halfway through the season.

But, yeah, now that I can actually use my legs, it just all feels better.

Q. Can we talk about the Breakfast of Champions? What was it like to be on the Wheaties box? Describe what that means.
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was a moment I've always wanted. I didn't even think about it for years. Obviously Althea Gibson was somebody I really looked up to. Had an opportunity to speak to her on the phone at one point in my life. It's something I'll never forget.

It was always my goal to follow her as a tennis player on that box. When it happened, I was really excited for it.

Q. For someone like Coco to have a poster of you, to speak highly of you and Venus, talk about that.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I just love Coco and her family. They're just really sweet. Her dad is just a good guy. She's pretty awesome and pretty cool. Honestly, I feel honored that I was on her wall at some point in her life. Soon she'll be on other girls' walls. It's nice, because it will keep it going from the next generation to next generation.

Q. Are you able to talk about your work ethic at all, the everyday grind it takes for you to be where you are today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't think about it actually, yeah. I guess it is a lot of work. It's really second nature to me now. Like, I literally don't think about it. Okay, I'm working out four hours today. It's like you don't really think about it when you go to work. It's like second nature, something you have to do. It's just built in your system. That's what it is like for me.

I do know when I do go to work, I was so focused and so intense, so almost on edge because I really want to do a great job. I think that's unique. Other than that, I'm just so used to the training and working.

Q. There have been six women's matches and two men's matches on the two main stadiums today. Wimbledon in general is having a few more things that made the women's qualifying draw bigger. Have you noticed a positive uptick in the treatment of women here, which has been a discussion point?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was here obviously when it was two men and one women's match on each of the show courts. I think the last time I played here last year, they had started to make change, maybe even the year before, I'm not sure, I don't remember.

But, yeah, I'm glad to see that they made different changes in continuing to support the women.

Q. Assuming you say you do end up playing mixed with Andy, could I get your thoughts on him as a player and a person. I'm guessing you wouldn't go out of your way to play mixed with anybody. What is it about him that you like and respect?
SERENA WILLIAMS: We're a lot alike on the court (laughter). I've always liked that about him. Talking about work ethic... His work ethic is just honestly off the charts. That's something I've always respected about him. His fitness, everything. To do what he's done in an era where there's so many other great male tennis players, so much competition, to rise above it, not many people have done it. He's actually one of the few.

There's so many things to be admired. Above all, he really stands out, he really speaks up about women's issues no matter what. You can tell he has a really strong woman in his life. I think above all that is just fantastic.

Q. Do you have any thoughts on your opponent today, her backstory, early 30s, only her second slam, spent much of her career in satellites? When you think of that, what goes through your mind of her journey?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, it's nice because no matter where you are, you don't want to give up. I think she's a great tale and story of that. Doesn't matter what age you are, whether you're 15 or in your early 30s, you still have a chance to be great at whatever you do.

She really took it to me today. She's had some really good, strong matches in the past few months. Honestly, it's a good thing to see.

Q. You participate two weeks ago in Caroline Wozniacki's wedding. Can you tell us a little bit about your experience.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I love Caroline. She's literally one of my best friends. It was just such a magical moment. It was the most beautiful wedding I've ever been to. I had a great time. It was so good to celebrate her love.

Q. You mentioned you needed matches as you recover from the knee. How much of a factor positively is that in terms of playing mixed doubles also? How much of a challenge would it be to manage the schedule?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You just have to play it by ear. I haven't felt this good in months, almost five months. I know my body really well. I know my limits. Something is off, I'll know that it's off.

But so far, like, I literally haven't felt like this since September -- I mean February. I don't know how 'September' came off my lips. It's a really good feeling.

Q. How would you describe the sacrifices you think you've had to make to stay at the level that you've sustained for all these years?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It's been a tremendous amount of sacrifices. That's another thing I don't really think about because I just feel like the reward that I have been afforded and the opportunities that I've had through tennis way overlook those sacrifices that I've had to make.

Q. We're asking players to reflect on their careers, talk about the best decisions they have made. What comes to mind?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Like on the court or...

Q. In your career, decisions about turns in your life, coaching, major decisions.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think the biggest decision in my career is when I played Martina Hingis in the 1999 US Open final, I was so nervous at that point. I think it was in the tiebreak -- I don't know where it was. All I know is she was serving, and I had an opportunity -- I already had so many opportunities. I was like, This is it. If I don't land on this one, I'm never going to do it. I just went for it.

From that moment forward, I knew I just need to go for it.

Q. That was a breakthrough for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was a huge breakthrough for me.

Q. Looking fairly far ahead in the season, you haven't played after the US Open in quite a few years. If you're feeling healthy, is that something you're resolved not to do this year?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I would love to play the season in the fall because I've missed basically the whole year. It would actually be nice to kind of pick up some matches. Also I like to go to different areas because it's nice to take Olympia to put her on top of the Great Wall and take a picture. It's always a nice experience.

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